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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Dark Model

Dark Model

Review by Gary Hill

This disc really surprised me. It’s not exactly my kind of music. The sound here is electronic meets symphonic instrumental music. It’s kind like Kraftwerk blended with Tangerine Dream. While I like that kind of sound, it’s not my favorite thing. This album, though, just blew me away. In fact, it’s likely to make my best of 2014 list. I’m pretty impressed with this. It works really well and is a great ride.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 3 at

Track by Track Review
Dance of Wrath (Ikari No Mai)

This comes in very symphonic and powerful and carries that way for a time. Then a dark electronic dance-like sound takes it. Still, it’s got an almost metallic crunch in the mix, too. This is full of energy and really works well as an opener. There is a false ending that gives way to a short blast of symphonic rock.

Symphonic music merges with rock and electronica on this killer piece. It’s got some great melodies and yet a real driving powerhouse rock rhythmic element. There are weird little electronic speed ups and slow downs and stutters in this, but somehow they work.
Close to Infinity
There is a very pronounced rhythmic element to this composition. The thing really rocks and yet the electronic sounds bring a lot of symphonic texture to the table. This is another killer piece of music.
Broken Arrows
In a lot of ways this feels more like soundtrack music. Don’t take that to mean that’s it’s extremely mellow, though. In fact, it gets pretty bombastic at times. It also has some of the most decidedly classical styled music of the whole set, too. It opens and closes with piano, but there is a lot of magic and drama in the middle.
Onibi (Demon Fire)
Space music, electronic and classical all merge here. The percussion is pretty insane at times on this. The symphonic elements are very powerful, too.
Hope Is Never Gone
Symphonic elements along with high energy electronic sounds merge on this powerhouse. It’s not a huge change from the rest, but it is one of the real standouts.
Candle in the Desert
In a lot of ways this is more symphonic and textural. It still gets energetic and powerful, but it’s more in waves rather than lines of melody. It’s pretty and potent.
Ran (Resistance)
There is something almost supernatural about the sound of this thing. It’s electronic at its core, but it’s also very symphonic in nature. It’s another powerhouse piece. It’s one of the best here. It’s got some amazing passages of sound.
Double Cross
There is a cool melodic riff that serve almost like the bass part of the rhythm section. As the cut builds over the top of that it has electronic symphonic elements at its core. Yet, there is a cool, almost Primus like rhythmic structure to the piece. In fact, this feels a bit like what it might sound like if you merged an orchestra with Kraftwerk and Primus. It’s another standout on a disc that has no shortage of strong material. There is a mellower interlude mid-track, too.
Prayer for the New Moon
As ambient elements serve as the backdrop, Native American flute stylings dance across the top. As this continues to evolve it has a real space element to it. In fact, this really feels like electronic space rock in a lot of ways.
Moment of Truth
Techno, electronic and symphonic sounds are the ingredients for this sonic stew. It’s got a lot of energy and power and has a rather dance music turned symphonic edge to it.
Judgment Day
Coming in purely classical, as other sounds join into the mix, it still retains that flavor. In fact, it’s past the one minute mark when this moves out to something other than a symphonic classical approach. Then the electronic sounds lend a different texture, but the basic musical concept remains pretty consistent. There are some beautiful melodic lines in this piece and it’s another highlight. There is a drop to a piano dominated section at the end.
Although this has many of the same elements at play, there are some more hard rocking sections here. This really does land close to space rock at times.
I Will Return
Symphonic, electronic and other sounds are the basis for this number. It’s got sections that are purely symphonic and others that land more in the realm of electronic progressive rock. The rhythm really drives some sections of this, but the melody always shines, too.
Farewell to the Moon
This is purely atmospheric electronic music. It’s the most sedate piece here. It’s a nice interlude.
Oath (Dubstep Remix)
While this is a bit strange at times, it’s also quite energetic and powerful. The concept of electronic dance music merged with techno and symphonic elements works quite well.


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